Back In Black | 21st Amendment Brewery

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BA SCORE
83
good
704 Reviews
THE BROS
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Back In BlackBack In Black
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery
California, United States | website

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
ABV varies around 7%.
65 IBU

Added by tpd975 on 11-23-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
704
Ratings:
2,351
Avg:
3.68
pDev:
24.18%
 
 
Wants:
54
Gots:
375
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 704 | Ratings: 2,351
Photo of AgentMunky
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce can into a pilsner glass. Stamped 1192 1122 on the bottom.

A: Convincingly dark. Dark cola hints in the light, but only at the slenderest part of an admittedly thin glass. Topped with a couple fingers of almost-tan head; decent retention. Some bubbles visible at the edges of the glass. Comprehensive, scattered lace. Nice.

S: Roasted malts. The can reads 'rich dark malts,' but there is a definite porter-ish quality here, almost smoky. On smell alone, it could pass for a rauchbier. Interesting.

T/M: Also intriguing. I am unsure why this is classified as a Black IPA. It tastes mellow and roasted, with hops emerging only on the endtaste. Creamy, supported, and substantial mouthfeel. Again, more like a porter than an IPA. I suppose the bitterness on the aftertaste is more hoppy than roasty, but still...anyways, good beer.

O: Interesting, recommended, and more worth your time than the Brew Free or Die IPA. Would drink again.

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Photo of ccrida
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The placard at their brewpub stated "7.2% and 65 IBUS, same hops as 21A IPA but with a touch of dark malt for slight roast.

Served in a shaker pint, Back in Black is a dark brown with a tight khaki head that leaves pretty heavy lace.

Smell is a massive blast of American hops, huge cedar notes, minty as well, even a hint of watermelon.

Taste is also bright hops, a bit more resinous then the nose, really nice interplay of the roasted malt. This is the best Black IPA I've had, I really prefer the resin vs. grapefruit hop flavor with the roasted malts, which aren't too overwhelming anyways, just really a nice touch of depth.

Mouthfeel is slick, medium bodied, nice carbonation.

Drinkability is high, this is damn tasty. Really easy to loose the roast in the pungency of the hops, but it's there no doubt, and isn't overly chocolatey or sweet like of the other black IPAs I've had. Wow, super impressed with 21A, each beer is better then the next.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.52/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black beer pours black, not overly viscous, looks more like schwarzbier than a stout, so we're doing good in going after the oxymoron black india pale ale. . . Head was tan, 1/2". Aroma hit big time C hop bitterness and roasted malt notes.

Taste is bitter as well, not a lot of hop flavor, more roast than that. Strong abv, strong ibu. If you want something strong and substantial this is it, but it doesn't display a lot of nuance.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.36/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can purchased at Beverage World in Ft. Oglethorpe, GA $2. Dark black color, decent lace, short head. Smells roasty, like a porter. Tastes very much like a porter and nothing like an IPA, it wasn't even hoppy. I have no idea how old this was but I am really starting to doubt the whole black IPA phenomenon. Its like most of them are just porters and the really hoppy ones still don't make me think IPA. Hoppy black ale would be a better moniker for these shits.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

can poured into pint glass

A - Pours super dark with a slight brown hue around the edges of the glass. A frothy, bubbly head nearly erupts right over the rim of the pint glass with a slightly tan hint. The retention is nearly everlasting, forming a substantial layer over the beer with an abundance of stringy lacing.

S - An array of heavier malts and dark scents. Grain, malt, and a healthy helping of caramel all swirl together.

T - It seems to have a tendency to wander while tasting, as toasted grains and caramel malt begin the initial wave of flavor. Bitter hops attempt to break through, especially during the finish, but a decent amount of dryness from the malts and a touch of coffee continues to linger, which appears to impact the hop profile.

M/D - There's a relatively chewy, medium body, as the silky smooth feel makes it an easy beer to drink.

This is decent enough, but it almost feels like a cross between multiple styles (porter, ipa, stout) which can confuse the palate.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.07/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with garnet highlights and a loose lumpy cafe latte head that trails and rings. Straight leaf resin fresh hop flower nose - smells like hops straight off the vine. Some tar, cocoa nibs and molasses but big orange is fighting to get through and comes out in a sticky hops finish. No bitterness on the back end (65 IBUs? Where?) and tingly linger. Medium, creamy, clingy, smooth.

Hops forward for a CDA, dark malts really take a back seat. Those malts do more for the body, making this fuller than just about any IPA I've had, though it's coming off a bit thin and one note too.

Easy sipper in cans, and solid addition to the style.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.61/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque warm sable with a thick, fine-bubbled, light tan head. Strong aroma is fairly hoppy with a firm undertone of citrus, mainly orange and a bit of grapefruit. Strong, hoppy flavor has smoky and nutty undertones and hints of chocolate and licorice. It fairly successfully marries most of the flavors I like in a stout or porter with the hoppy and citrus flavors I appreciate in an IPA. Maybe I should change my favorite sort of beer to black IPA. Texture is fairly smooth and fizzy with a slight tinny undertone.

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Photo of papat444
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. can, canned 04/22/13.

Appearance: Very bubbly head, firmly latched on to the glass. Deep dark brown body with blood red tinges and thick rings left behind.

Smell: Resiny, creamy coffee, pine needles, some roasted aromas.

Taste: Pine, oatmeal, mix of sweet & bitter, roasted coffee, bit of grapefruit.

Mouthfeel: Good full body, stick, lip smacking, rolling bitterness.

Overall: Decent stab at the style.

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Photo of Durge
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A thick black-ish brown color with a healthy light brown head and a nice network of lacing. The aroma is a dark molasses malt and creamy nut with just a hint of can in there. Decent. The flavor is charcoal licorice malt with a bright herbal hop. It's very smooth, almost creamy with light carbonation, medium bodied and very drinkable. Lots of near chocolate malt and a pleasant hop overtone. At first I thought I detected some metal but that disappears quickly. I enjoyed this. Could drink quite a few and quite flavorful with stout and ipa ideas nicely blended.

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Photo of Suds
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Utterly black, this beer is presented in an artistically motifedd black can. The aroma is grainy and a little smokey. Charcoal and a touch of wood and background hops. The taste is dry, with a heavily roasted, and almost char quality. Full in body. Easy to drink and moderately full of flavor. Like a highly hopped dry stout. Nice.

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Photo of FLima
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Black ruby color with a thick beige head with great retention and leaving a wall of laces.
Light aroma of sweet caramels, coffee at some point and pineapples.
Flavor of papaya, coffee, resin, roasted malts, grapefruits, American yeast and also earthy and floral hops. Dry aftertaste with its lingering flavors.
Medium body with low carbonation and a creamy sensation. Alcohol of 6.8% abv is well hidden.
Good malty and balanced black IPA, probably hoppier than it feels.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.52/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can poured to tall glass at Mustard's in Napa Valley. Noticed the beer was canned on May 20, 2013 and I had it March 5, 2014. Nice restaurants really need to start figuring this beer things out, not really acceptable for an IPA, black or not. Anyway, pours dark brown to black with a little purple hue, small off white head. Smells like lemon pinesol and some sweet chocolate in the background. The flavor follows the aroma rather closely, with much more malt sweetness. Chocolate, lemon, pine, old hops I guess. Medium mouthfeel, a bit creamy, with medium level carbonation. Would like to try fresh but as is it wasn't bad. With that said, plenty of better things to reach for.

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Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my very first crack at this new style, so I was pretty excited to try it. Notes are recent.

Black it is, with just a hint of brown around the edges when held up to the light. A light colored head forms about one finger high and manages good retention and lacing.
This is quite fragrant, pretty much as I expect an IPA sort of aroma but strongly backed by dark chocolate, caramel, coffee, and roasted malts notes. This is very interesting wrapped up in citrus and light pine resin hops aromas. There's an earthiness from hops and an earthiness from malts that compound the earthy aroma.
The taste follows suit, and as this style develops I think it'll be interesting to pick out the particularities of the different flavors that can be detected from both the malts and the hops. As it is, this may be the opposite of something like a well-hopped stout: a strongly-malted IPA. I think it works well, but if done wrong I could see a Black IPA being extremely discordant. In my opinion, 21st Amendment struck a nice balance.
The body is medium-full with moderate carbonation. It starts off crisp and ends with a moderate smoothness, with a semi-dry finish lingering for a short time.
I think this beer is a great effort from 21st Amendment and I look forward to seeing how this style continues to develop. This one can be enjoyed as a sessional and equally as much in almost any climate/temperature situation.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a black color. The head is a mammoth two inches in height, and recedes slowly into a thick cap of foam. The aroma is of grapefruit, pine resin and citrus. It is completely dominated by hops without even a trace of darker malt aromas. The taste is still very hoppy, but there is a solid malt profile too. The grapefruit, pine, and citrus from the aroma are still present with the addition of of nice roasted malt notes. The malt and the hops are well integrated within this beers taste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Overall, this is a very good beer that I will certainly drink again.

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Photo of jera1350
3.37/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Solid brownish black with a massive and thick mocha head that has outstanding retention and leaves lots of lacing all around the glass.

Getting a citrus hop scent, but it is overpowered by the strong scent of Dawn dish soap.

Citrusy hops abound and offer a fair bitterness, but their is also a toasty malt presence as well to offer balance in the extreme opposite of the hops. I am still getting some of the dish soap in the taste as well. I like it, but then I get the soap and it lessons the taste for me. Toasty char in the aftertaste.

Smooth and thicker mouthfeel that slides right down. Between full and medium body. Some really good heft.

If they could get rid of the dish soap notes, this beer would be outstanding. Still an enjoyable brew, only the second one that I can say that about for 21st. Something is just off in most of their beers. Not sure if it's because of where it's contract brewed or what. Give this one a shot though.

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Photo of jzlyo
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is piney hops, mild grain sweetness and a hint of dark malts. The flavor is citrus hops, dark malts and some fruit/tartness/acidity in the finish.

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Photo of Pencible
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a clear black ruby, with moderate tan head.
S: It smelled like dry milk chocolate and oranges, with some earthy roasted coffee and copper hops.
T: It tasted like creamy milk chocolate and sweet oranges, with some coffee and copper. It had a very clean, bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was watery with moderate carbonation. Decent body.
D: This was a very nice black IPA, almost bordering porter with more prominent roast character. Still very nice scent and taste, with ok body. Finish was so smooth it was tough not to chug. Not the best of the style, but very enjoyable and session-able.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in the company of mikesgroove. Served from tap into a shaker. Poured a massively dark brown almost black with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, slight roasted malt, slight bitter hop, and cream. The flavor was of roasted malt, sweet malt, slight bitter hop, and cream. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty nice brew. It was not awe-inspiring by any means, but still good. If this one had a little bit more of a hop profile going on it would have been quite good. As it was more toward the roasted side of things for the most part. A must try Black IPA.

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Photo of popery
4.12/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at City Beer Store in San Francisco.

It's not on the 21st Amendment website and I trust my fellow BAs, but I thought that I should mention that the abv was listed as 7.2% at the store, which would make sense as Back in Black is brewed along the same lines as the IPA (who cares, really). Anyway, the beer pours an opaque dark brown with purplish highlights and a good creamy mocha head that leaves excellent lacing. I'm not really sure how to rate the appearance of an intentionally dark IPA, which was certainly not to style, but I like how it looked. The aroma was very close to the IPA, strong, rich hop aromas of pine and spruce with a tinge of citrus and herbs. The flavor brings the dark malt into play with subtle roasted notes underlying the strong hop flavors. I've only had one other dark IPA that I can think of, Stone's 11th/Sublimely Self Righteous, and while they have different hop bills, they're similarly delicious. It's a great variant on the style but oddly rare among commercial brewers, although the homebrew community seems to have embraced it.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper color to black with a light tan head. In the aroma, roasty coffee and a small hop presence. In the taste, just like the aroma, roasty coffee and a small pine like hop. A small bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry, roasty, coffee aftertaste. Kind of like a hoppy porter.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Browned black core of dense opaqueness. Dark beige crown lifts tall and lean with a creamy puffed thickness. Lots of thickly placed lacing in cob webbed frosting.

Aroma is quite the intriguing mix of dry cocoa, dry tea leaves, bittered with a twist of pine, tangerine, berries, dark orange, heavy roasted malt, and a low ended hint to coffee.

Taste brings in some low tangy roasted malt layers that has a bit of berryness, orange marmalade, and old tangerine. Bitterness is there among the roasted parts, mostly showing towards the back end with a rounded orangey tang. Mellow pineyness and chocolateyness flows lightly underneath with bits of burnt coffee and roast.

Body is about medium with a loosened roundness as it rolls into the finish. The roasted parts do mix well with the hoppy bitterness, but its missing the mark some in its smoothness due its burntish side.

All in all, a pretty good black IPA. Would have liked to see some more chocolate and creamy smoothness out of it though. Or maybe just more hops? This was a tough one to put the numbers to. May need to tweek them if needed as I drink more of it?

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Photo of morimech
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not quite black in color so the name is misleading. Dark brown with a large tan head that had good retention before settling to a thin cap. Heavy lacing is left on the glass. The aroma is really weak. I just pick up some citrus hops. Sufficiently hoppy flavor giving citrus hints. The dark malt is used more than just color. I do get some roasted malt in the flavor. Bitterness is moderate and at 65 IBUs, well represented. The body is a little more thick and chewy than most IPAs and I credit that to the dark malts. Nice carbonation. Available in cans so the drinkability automatically goes up. Has a couple of weaknesses but otherwise a solid IPA.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out of can into a goblet. A 3/4 inch dirty white head formed. Color is almost black is a slight redish hue.

S - Malty

T - Hops dance nicely on the tongue. Slight citrus, malt and bitter. Good combo.

M - Crisp and clean

D - A decent Cascadian Ale. There are others that I like more in this category, but it is worth a try.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good dark serving with a fair hoppy side.

Presentation: 12 oz can. Design around an almost black illustration of Paul Revere swinging the candlelight from a motorbike. Has some batch numbers but lacks a clearly legible freshness or canning date, shows 65 IBUs and 6.8% Alc. by Vol. Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Dark brown, almost black pour, with a rich off-white frothy head, good retention, fair surface memory with some lacing.

S - Soft nose with malty notes, caramel and a citrus hoppy touch.

T - A roasted touch takes front seat, not too assertive but predominant… with a sweet, caramel like touch and almost lactic for an instant opening the brew to the hop range, citrus, and a bit of resin with a return to the malt sense over a chocolate hint.

M - Medium-light body with medium carbonation and a gentle if unremarkable finish.

O - Pleasing choice, a bit short of the next level but worth the flow.

Notes: It has been a while since I had this one, and previously it was a fresh tap version where the IPA edge shined the most. Here sometimes roasted notes seem to take over the hop profile even with a passing memory of a dry stout. Still worth the try but not too memorable. While I would not put this one down, having the choice I might go after other more stimulating black IPAs.

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Photo of gford217
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz can poured into a tulip.

Pours a deep mahogany that looks almost black in the glass but has a deep copper look when held up to light. There is a small creamy beige head that sits down as a hefty collar and leaves excellent lacing.

I'm getting a little more accustomed to aromas like this - dark chocolate malts mixed with some citrus and floral hops.

Taste is a little more bitter with the floral hops and citrus leaving a slightly astringent kick up front. The black malts are present but it's not nearly as evident as in the aroma.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation but seems a little more watery than I would expect.

Not the best of black IPAs but pretty good. I definitely like seeing new craft beer in a can and this is no exception.

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Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 704 ratings.
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